tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC July 30, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
tonight on "world news," is this the end game? in washington, is the fever breaking? tonight, we're hearing something unusual at the capitol, optimism. is the debt debacle finally nearing an end? theiracle landing. a plane carrying 163 people from new york crashes and splits in two. how did everybody onboard survive? a cry for help. david muir on assignment in africa tonight, with a new discovery in the famine zone, after that perilous journey to food and freedom. it turns out there's a giant hurdle. "world news" gets answers. in britain, they're celebrating the second royal wedding of the year. this time, will and kate try not to steal the spotlight. but remember all those hats?
they're back. and check out this big thank you. an amazing moment off the coast. how a humpback whale whose life was saved by a group of researchers repaid the favor. good evening. i'm dan harris. david muir is on assignment tonight in africa. we'll go to him in just a moment. but we want to start in washington, where tonight, we're seeing something highly unusual. hope. there was a real change of tone today in the debt debate. we should say the hope we're seeing tonight is still very tentative and very fragile. but with the clock ticking down, and there it is, three days left. some of the major players in this game are starting to sound like they might finally be getting down to business to break the impasse. abc's senior political correspondent, jon karl, has been on this story every step of the way. and he leads us off, once again, tonight.
jon, good evening to you. >> good evening, dan. the house and the senate have spent the last 24 hours on a series of showboats on bills that don't have a chance of passing. but republicans say they're fully engaged with the white house. and have spoken with the president this afternoon to find a way to break the impasse. finally, signs of progress. >> i'm confident and optimistic we're going to get an agreement. >> despite our differences, we're dealing with reasonable, responsible people, who want this crisis to end as quickly as possible. and i'm confident we will. >> reporter: you wouldn't know it by looking at what congress is doing. >> the american people are looking for a real solution. >> reporter: the house spent the day voting down the bill offered by senate democrats, even though the sesete hadn't passed it yet. >> there is absolutely no excuse for this reckless, unpatriotic behavior on the part of the
republicans. >> let it be clear, that god is my witness, we will not compromise on our principles. >> this is a disgraceful moment, mr. dwyer. >> not only is the plan dead on arrival in the house. it appears to be dead on departure from the senate. >> reporter: but the senate bitter le debated the bill anyway. >> those showing great bravado and great political speeches here, are calling bluffs with other people's chips. >> if my house was on fire, i can't compromise about which part of the house i'm going to save. you save the whole house. or it will all burn down. we either save this country or we do not. >> reporter: no sign of compromise. but the e speaker, at least, is confident a deal is coming. >> jon, as we get down to the wire, are you getting a sense of fear at the capitol? >> reporter: the interesting thing is the answer really is no. leaders on both sides, you talk to them away from the cameras
and away from the back and worth. and they believe that something will ultimately be done because it's got to be done. but that's based on belief that the other side will cave in. we heard from harry reid coming back from a white house meeting he had. and the question is, are we closer to a compromise. the answer is no. >> mixed signals, as you say. right now, a very unclear picture. jon karl, thank you for your reporting tonight. want to take a quick step back from all of the politics for just a moment. and take a look at what all of the wrangling means for the rest of us. we put together a 60-second explainer. let's start with the worst-case scenario, that congress is unable to come up with a deal and america can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills. this would be truly uncharted territory. but here's what it could mean. the stock market swoons, diminishing the value of your 401(k)s and i.r.a.s. and the government stops sending out checks to soldiers, civil servants, and people who depend
on social security. but many observers think the worst-case is unlikely. let's look at the best case, that the politicians cut a deal. that could boost people's confidence in the economy, sending stocks up and promoting companies to hire. but even if there is a deal, america could still have its credit rating downgraded, which means the interest rates on your mortgage and your credit cards might go up slightly. so, this whole debt debacle could end up hurting all of us, even if the politicians are able to beat the clock. and there is another way that the game of political chicken going on in washington could impact the rest of us. it could hurt america's standing in the eyes of the rest of the world. so, let's bring in abc's christiane amanpour, who is the anchor of "this week." christiane is in washington tonight. how is all of this impacting our reputation abroad? >> well, quite significantly. imagine this, half a world away in afghanistan, u.s. soldiers today, meeting with their chief,
chairman of the joint chiefs, mike mullen, asked, will we get paid? and he was forced to say, i simply don't know. but beyond that, america's international friends and, indeed, its friendemies are concerned. they say, it is damaging. they called it irresponsible what's happening in washington. especially china, which holds the most u.s. debt. it's calling for a resolution to this. d a key investment manager says to me, that the rest of the world is stunned, bewildered, more than a little worried. and that the damage is already being done. it's more than a flesh wound. >> always fun to hear the word friendemy on the evening news. do you really think that even if a deal is done and they beat the clock, that real damage has been done in a lasting way? >> well, look. this is what people there are saying. that the level of this acrimony, the level of the paralysis, the partisanship here has sent a discouraging signal about america's ability to lead. about the impasse on its global leadership and its prestige.
so, these are very concerned international watchers who are intimately and intricately involved with the u.s. economy and who see the u.s. economy and have used the u.s. economy as the most stable in the world and obviously it's the reserve currency, the dollar. and they're cononrned about how that proceeds. >> christiane, we appreciate your analysis. thank you. and a reminder, christiane will have all of this on "this week." her guests will include, david plouffe and republican senator, lindsey graham. now, to an amazing story of survival. look at this puicture. this is a plane that split in two. 163 people and at least 2 it was a caribbean airlines jet that slid off the runway in guyana. incredibly, everyone survived. here's abc's lisa stark. >> reporter: there was no fire
when the jet split apart. and it stopped just short of a 200-foot ravine. all that saved lives. >> and the plane practically broke in two. we should be grateful for that. >> reporter: the caribbean airlines boeing 737, stopped in trinidad, after leaving new york. and then, on the guyana. it was raining, 1:30 in the morning. the jet touched down and then, careened off the end of the runway. crashing through an airport fence and on to a dirt road. >> i told my friend, you know, that, man. we're going to die. we're going to die because the plane, it don't have enough runway to stop. >> reporter: reports say as many as 100 were hurt. just a few seriously. >> investigators are going to first take a look at the speed of the airplane and where it touched down on the runway. that's critical in understanding, especially with a wet runway. >> reporter: accidents where planes run off the end or the side of the runway are the most common runway mishap. about 30 a year worldwide. and most on landing. it happened in jamaica in 2009.
and little rock, arkansas, in 1999. there, 11 died. luckily, most of these accidents are not fatal. the black boxes have been recovered in the guyana crash. and the national transportation safety board will help figure out what went wrong. lisa stark, abc news, washington. and now, to another perilous journey. this one undertaken by some of the most desperate people on this planet. abc news was the first american network on the scene of that massivee humanitarian crisis, i east africa. david muir, our anchor, reporting on the parents literally carrying their children for miles and miles to save them from this famine. but as david found out, the final steps can be the hardest. tonight, he's aed the teeming dadaab refugee camp in kenya. david. >> reporter: dan, good evening from kenya. we've been reporting all week, from somalia, to the refugee
camps in kenya. so many of the families, walking on foot, more than 100 miles, to get here. we discovered that once they get to the camps, they're in for another excruciating wait. we pulled up shortly after day break. but already see the line forming in the distance. and jeffries at the gate, for the first food. we notice that emerging from the tinder dry desert, more families, finishing the punishing journey from somalia. a mother balancing all of her belongings and her baby, too. the population of cleveland, minneapolis. and not far off, fresh mounds of dirt. the nameless graves for the refugees that didn't survive. this mother just got here. we asked how long it's been since she and her children had anything to eat. six days. once they get through that gate, they wait here. and then, they're brought inside to be registered. i wanted to show you what the
families go through here. there's actually a computer that they leave their fingerprints on, to register. each family will do this. and then, they're presented with one of these yellow bands. the big question is, once they get the bands, they get a ration that lasts 20 days or so at the most. but it can take two months before the families actually get into the refugee camp. they're given a ration of food. but my question is, in many cases, they wait two months before they get into the camp. there's a huge gap there. >> that's true. and but -- >> reporter: is that a problem? >> it is a problem. >> reporter: the u.n. acknowledged they're overwhelmed. this little boy waited for his yellow band. cheerful enough to give me a high-five. and just beyond the tent, another child, now wearing his band, slowly, starting to eat again. and beyond these swelling refugee camps here in kenya, the u.n. warned this week in emergency talks, more than 10
million people could die of starvation across the horn of africa, unless they get food and quickly. >> david, thank you. tomorrow night, david takes us to the unseen epicenter of this famine, as he continues his reporting from africa. if you want to help, the famine victims throroh organizations like doctors without borders. go on to our website, abcnews.com/help. and back in washington tonight, while everybody's been focused on that huge debt debate, conservatives in the house of representatives have quietly mounted an unprecedented assault on environmental regulations, including limits on a form of mining that literally shears the top off of mountains to get coal. this type of mining is controversial, pitting families in coal country against one another. david kerley, from west virginia. >> reporter: the coal under these mountains has provided a
living for so many famililies here. they're going to shave the top off that mountain? >> yeah. >> reporter: literally moving mountains. >> i told my grandchildren. this place will be yours. but it may not be there. >> reporter: 500 peaks and counting, literally blown up, since the 1970s. all for the coal deep under ground. at ground level, you get a real sense of the scale of this. because with mountain top removal mining, all of this goes. the trees, the soil. the ground i'm walking on, a couple hundred feet up, a couple hundred feet down. all of it dug up and pulverized r the coal underneath. but take a flight high above, and the landscape turns to moonscape. when environmental campaigner, robert f. kennedy jr. saw it, filming a new documentary called "the last mountain," he was overwhelmed. >> if you try to blow up a mountain, the berkshires or the adirondacks or in utah, you
would be put in jail. >> reporter: massey energy, which has the mining rights and is now owned by alpha resources, did not answer repeated requests to speak with us. but it has called the mining cost-effective and safe. and claims to return to landscape close to its original scape. west virginia congressman, nick rahall, also defends mountain top removal. >> what it means is jobs. and what it means is keeping our lights on. >> reporter: some in the community agree, as well. >> people, united. >> reporter: but on the other side of an increasingly bitter struggle are families like the elshers, who say their jobs are important. but so are the mountains they grew up with. jim sciutto, abc news, blair, west virginia. we have one, quick weather note tonight. it turns out tropical storm don was a dud. normally that would be very good news. but not so for south texas and the farmers who were counting on this storm to ease the horrible drought there. people along the coast werer
evacuated overnight and flights were canceled. but all for not. and coming up here on "world news" on this saturday, there was another royal wedding over in britain today. it was different in size. but t ose hats, they were back. they. they are institutions at the heart of small towns all over this country. and they are about to go away. the anger, tonight. and an amazing story of man, beast and gratitude. how a whale says thank you to people who saved her life. onon o car insurance. great! at progressive, you can compare rates side by side, so you get the same coverage, often for less. wow! that is huge! [ disco playing ] and this is to remind you that you could save hundreds! yeah, that'll certainly stick with me. we'll take it. go, big money! i mean, go. it's your break, honey.
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royal-watchers. queen elizabeth's eldest granddaughter got married in scotland and the whole clan turned out. including cousin william and his new wife, kate. but unlike their over-the-top wedding, this one was a little more low-key. abc's lama hasan is on the story from london tonight. >> reporter: the sun was shining. the crowd was loud. and william and kate were greeted like rock stars, as they arrive for today's royal wedding. it was hard for them not to steal the spotlight. because this royal couple don't live like royalty. zara phillips is the queen's greaeagranddaughter. there was little pomp and ceremony as he married her long-time boyfriend, mark tindall. >> that's the only real royal connection. other than than, it's's like a regular wedding on a saturday afternoon. >> reporter: they're both world-class athletes. he was a member of the rugby
team that took the world cup for britain in 2003. she is expected to compete as a rider in the 2012 olympics. a career she probably would not have had if she had taken a royal title, with all of the duties that go along with it. so, while her cousin gets married in westminster, she's in the quaint scottish church. while 2 billion people worldwide tuned in to the other royal wedding, today's ceremony was just for 400 close friends and family. while william and kate released that formal engagement photo in buckingham ballas, zara and mike wore jeans. but there was one similarity between the two weddings. remember that hat? princess beatrice wore this. no word if it's got its own facebook page. lama hasan, abc news, london. >> there was another key difference. zara and her husband will not be honeymooning in the maldives. they'll be going back to work. for small towns all over america, they are a link to the
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4,300 branches it may shut downn many of them in small towns that count on the local post office to link them to the rest of the world. here's abc's david kerley. >> reporter: since the civil war, the small town of star tannery has had its own post office. terry may be the last postal employee of star tannery. >> i wish the economy were different. and i wish the post office were busier. >> reporter: and that's the problem. it's quiet here. only about 28 customers a day. just a few pieces of mail dropped in the box outside. it costs $86,000 to run this post office last year. it only brought in $30,000. does it make you angry? >> yeah. >> reporter: wesley rudolph and those that live in the 400 homes of this town at the shenandoah mountains will still get mail delivered. but they'll have to drive 15 miles to another post office, to mail a package, losing a sense
of community. >> people who make these decisions have no clue as to what country people go through. >> reporter: but it's not just about money for star tannery. >> i know history doesn't make dollars for anybody. it's another piece of our past, our present and our future. it's another piece gone. >> reporter: a piece of their way of life. david kerley, abc news, star tannery, virginia. and coming up on the broadcast, astonishing pictures. can a whale show emotion? you be the judge. i love that my daughter's part fish. but when she got asthma, all i could do was worry ! specialists, lots of doctors, lots of advice... and my hands were full. i couldn't sort through it all. with unitedhealthcare, it's different. we have access to great specialists, and our pediatrician gets all the information. everyone works as a team. and i only need to talk to one person about her care. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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finally tonight, an extraordinary show of joy and gratitude. this happened off the coast ofof baja, california, when a marine researcher and his family came upon a humpback whale entangled in nylon netting. what happened next, you have to see for yourself. >> when we first approached the whale, she was in horrible shape. the decision to rescue the whale came slowly. but knew there was a risk. but we decided to go for it. she knows what's going on. she's got to be able to breathe, too. you could feel the power. we were pulled for at least half a mile.
watch out. watch out. this was a team effort. balancing the whale was part of the effort. she kind ofnew that we were her chance. we were her lifeline. the moment when the whale got fully released from the netting, the show that she exhibited afterwards was just showing its joy of being alive. for a humpback whale, that's a magnificent thing. >> she's showing us she's free. >> yeah. >> as we said, extraordinary.y. that's going to do it for "world news" on this saturday. i'm dan harris. you can get the latest news anytime on abcnews.com. and i'll see you right back here on "good morning america" tomorrow. for david muir and the rest of us at abc news, good night.